Wednesday, November 30, 2022

K.B. Forbes' reporting about Alabama Power and other powerful entities launched a terror campaign that made him (and his family) flee for safety in Mexico

K.B. Forbes

Regular Legal Schnauzer readers long have known that practicing journalism in Alabama can be a dangerous pursuit. In October 2013, I was beaten inside my own home, essentially the victim of a state-sanctioned kidnapping, and thrown in the Shelby County Jail for five months, becoming the only journalist in the Western Hemisphere (the Americas) to be incarcerated that year. That put Alabama in the company of countries such as Iraq, Iran, Russia, and Uganda.

Why did a deputy illegally enter our home and engage in police brutality when there wasn't even a whiff of a criminal allegation against me? Well, I was writing this blog, which had become displeasing to certain members of Alabama's political power structure. Montgomery, AL, attorney Tommy Gallion addressed the subject of attacks on journalists, and analyzed the terrifying nature of my experience, in his book Shadow Government, Southern Style. One valuable lesson from my glorified kidnapping: I learned in jail that inmates often ask each other, "What are you in here for?" My answer was, "I was arrested for blogging." That always drew a big laugh -- but it wasn't a joke.

Now, we learn of another Alabama journalist who came under siege for writing a blog -- and that is no joke either. We're talking about K.B. Forbes, publisher of and CEO of the CDLU public charity and advocacy group. Forbes' reporting has focused on a number of powerful entities -- Alabama Power, Southern Company, Balch & Bingham, and Drummond Company -- who were tied to the North Birmingham Bribery Scandal.

Forbes reports in a post yesterday that he and his family, who are Hispanic, were subjected to an intimidation campaign that became severe enough that they fled their Birmingham home and temporarily stayed in Mexico for safety reasons. [Forbes is the son of a Hispanic immigrant from Chile and his wife was born and raised in Mexico.]

This comes on the heels of a report about attorney Burt Newsome, who was targeted (along with his family), apparently because certain corporate types came to view him as a threat. That suggests practicing law in Alabama might not be safe either. But today, our focus is on journalism, as practiced by K.B. Forbes. He reports that anonymous sources have provided financial documents that help piece together the story behind the targeting of his family. Writes Forbes:

Now financial documents in our possession give a graphic snapshot of that bottomless pit and demonstrate the stunning depth the alleged criminal enterprise led by Alabama Power/Southern Company went to, to instill fear, terrorize, and intimidate an innocent Hispanic family, including two young girls. The Hispanic family was forced to flee Alabama because of threats to their safety.

After the murder of George Floyd, the summer of 2020 was a summer of racial reckoning and stunning setbacks for the alleged criminal enterprise.

The alleged racist law firm (and sister-wife of Alabama Power) Balch & Bingham lost their 18th of 18 major lobbying clients in Washington, D.C. Crosswhite’s drinking buddy U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town resigned in disgrace, while Southern Company was hit hard for foolishly calling the suppression of African Americans in North Birmingham a “hypothesis.” On top of that an elderly exploitation scandal erupted, creating headlines and headaches.

According to the financial records, Zeke Smith, Alabama Power Executive Vice President of External Affairs , authorized hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenditures through Matrix, the obscure political consulting firm founded by “Sloppy Joe” Perkins, the Oompa Loompa of Alabama politics.

In the summer of 2020, at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, Alabama Power/Southern Comapny allegedly and foolishly decided to target, harass, intimidate, and terrorize the Hispanic family, spending big bucks to do so, and gathering intelligence and detailed personal information about the (Hispanic) family.

How extreme and unnerving did all of this get? Forbes writes:

The terror and harassment included phone calls to the Hispanic mother demanding to know her location, asking if she was at home, and offering to “drop off a package.”

Here, now, is a stunning example of the incredible reach that the alleged Alabama Power/Southern Company criminal enterprise engaged in that will give you, our dear reader, goosebumps.

According to the documents that we received anonymously, Zeke Smith approved an expenditure on June 11, 2020 for software called Import Genius that tracks exports, imports, and the bill of lading associated with those transactions.

Alabama Power/Southern Company appear to have been digging into an export made by the Hispanic family to Mexico. It was the first and only export they had ever made.

And what were they exporting? 

A Pottery Barn princess castle bed for their three-year-old daughter to a family home in Mexico.

The Hispanic family had received a Bill of Lading on June 11, 2020 and the alleged criminal enterprise appears to have known and learned about it that same day.

Were they illegally capturing private emails?

The Forbes family wound up being terrorized at their own home. Forbes tells the story:

As readers may recall, that summer an orchestrated campaign against Forbes was launched. With the anonymously received financial documents, we now know that Alabama Power/Southern Company funded the campaign.

This included the buffoons who sent fake protesters and paid actors to the wrong address, adjacent to and across the street from the home of the Forbes Family.

The buffoons terrorized the neighbor, who was washing dishes, and her teenage daughter. So petrified and traumatized, the neighbors moved from the community after living there for 14 years. She made a deposit on a new home six-days after the incident.

The buffoons also terrorized and traumatized Forbes’ then-eight-year old daughter who saw the protesters outside the window.

Thinking someone was dying like George Floyd, she ran and hid, crying.

All of this, Forbes writes, could have major legal repercussions:

With massive civil lawsuits and potential RICO actions, the foolish acts against innocent children paid for by Alabama Power/Southern Company, and allegedly authorized by Crosswhite and his posse, should cause more heads to roll.

Eventually, during the summer of 2020, K.B. Forbes joined his family in Mexico. That helped him find a dose of humor in a situation that was anything but amusing:

[Forbes] received an email from the FBI stating that they were “glad to hear” that he was safe with his family in Mexico.

Forbes looked over at his wife and quipped, “Well the FBI is saying that the Mexican cartel is safer than the clowns in Birmingham.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Alabama Power and Southern Company were at the heart of an ugly scheme to terrorize family of attorney Burt Newsome, newly revealed documents show

The Newsome twins

Alabama Power and its parent firm, Southern Company, were involved in a scheme to terrorize the family of a Birmingham-area attorney, newly revealed documents show.

Burt Newsome proprietor of Newsome Law LLC, apparently was seen as a threat and that caused his wife and four children (including a set of twins) to be targeted, according to a report at K.B. Forbes, publisher of Ban Balch and CEO of the CDLU public charity and advocacy group, calls the scheme "disgusting" and "revolting," noting that it might launch criminal investigations and lawsuits that could rock the business and legal environments in Alabama -- and perhaps beyond.

A Southern Company compliance executive denied roughly five years ago that Alabama Power was involved in what has become known as the Newsome Conspiracy Case. But Forbes now has records that tell a different story -- and he writes:

Now, today, this very moment, we, the CDLU, have received and are in possession of hard copies, hard evidence that Alabama Power/Southern Company was indeed involved in the Newsome Conspiracy Case and other alleged high crimes and misdemeanors.

The documents we have received anonymously are just the tip of the iceberg. In the coming weeks, as we report more details, the depth of this alleged criminal enterprise led by Southern Company/Alabama Power will absolutely and unequivocally need to be probed by the U.S. Department of Justice. We also anticipate massive civil lawsuits against Southern Company, Alabama Power, Matrix and others as these bombshell revelations are being investigated.

Efforts to obscure the facts behind the Newsome case began to crumble with reports that Alabama Power CEO Mark Crosswhite allegedly was a central figure in a plan to help him rise to head of Southern Company. Writes Forbes:

All the blind-eye protection came crashing down when it was revealed this summer that ex-Balch partner and Alabama Power Chairman and CEO Mark A. Crosswhite allegedly directed a surveillance effort in 2017 against his boss and parent company CEO, Tom Fanning, and Fanning’s then-girlfriend. Crosswhite was allegedly seeking photographic evidence to find out if Fanning was bisexual and if Fanning had a boy toy.

The ultimate goal, we were told, was to allegedly blackmail Fanning out of office and have Crosswhite jump in.

Ironically, years later after the spying, Crosswhite was ousted abruptly last week, on the eve of Thanksgiving.

But now, more heads need to roll, according to the documents we have.

Jeff Peoples, Executive Vice President of Customer and Employee Services at Alabama Power, signed off on paying the obscure political consulting firm Matrix an additional mid-five figures on top of the secret multi-million-dollar annual contracts the firm and its founder, “Sloppy Joe” Perkins, received.

And what was the mid-five figures allegedly for?

Forbes reports it was designed to help terrorize the Newsome family. How ugly was the scheme? It involved, in part, sending five sets of luggage -- one for each child, plus Newsome's wife -- along with various clothing outfits to the family home. The message? Forbes considers several possibilities:

The message was crystal clear: get ready to pack and leave town.

Were they threatening the family? The father, Burt Newsome? Was he going to be injured, killed or murdered?  Or were the wife and children going to “disappear” on a permanent vacation?

All done through an online retailer, the purchase can be tracked using IP addresses and metadata. Even a hacker’s digital trail can be traced.

All of this comes with considerable irony. Burt Newsome mostly represents banks and financial institutions, so it's hard to see how he could be a threat to Alabama Power. But this much seems clear: Local law enforcement did not take the actions against the Newsome family seriously. That did not surprise Forbes:

Local law enforcement dismissed the threat and alleged that the young twins must have selected and purchased the travel bags, the ten outfits (two for each child and mom), and processed the order when the twins couldn’t even read!

But we are not stunned that local law enforcement appears to be in Alabama Power’s pockets.

Newsome was pulled over and falsely arrested in 2013 by a Columbiana, Alabama police officer.

The Columbiana police officer who pulled Burt Newsome over in May of 2013 in an alleged “staged arrest” was none other than Jeffrey Bowers, the son of Willard L. Bowers, the retired, long-time executive at Alabama Power, who last served as Vice President of Environmental Affairs for the utility.

Hours after Burt Newsome’s “staged arrest,” and possibly under Alabama Power’s orders, a Balch & Bingham partner allegedly emailed and distributed copies of Newsome’s mug shot on a Saturday afternoon to banking and financial services executives, allegedly smearing Newsome.

While we, the CDLU, respect the men and women in blue, Jeffrey Bowers appears to have dishonored the code of ethical conduct. Bowers also posted a social media post on Facebook that blatantly attacks Muslims as goat fornicators and appears to be a revolting display of sheer stupidity,  disgusting vulgarity, and alleged discrimination that we believe is conduct unbecoming of a law enforcement official.

In 2021, Bowers was given a reward for his years of service (to Alabama Power?) and named Chief of Police.

While massive civil lawsuits and a federal probe are launched and litigated, Southern Company needs to seriously look at the expenditures made to target the Newsome twins, their family, and their father.

Burt Newsome has no business whatsoever with Alabama Power, except paying his electric bill month-to-month.

Where is all of this headed? It's probably too early to say, but Forbes expects much more information to be revealed in the coming weeks:

The alleged criminal enterprise at Southern Company/Alabama Power appears to have been used to target, threaten, and intimidate people when friends of friends of Alabama Power executives called for retaliation or revenge, even though it was of no interest or benefit to Southern Company/Alabama Power.

Jeff Peoples appears to have authorized a mid-five-figure contract that allegedly was used to target children, young children, and a family that has no business with Alabama Power whatsoever.

Targeting and terrorizing young children is disgusting and revolting; and appears to be a cornerstone of the alleged Southern Company/Alabama Power criminal enterprise.

While the bombshell documents also expose the enormous amount of money spent to harass the innocent, the young, and perceived opponents of Alabama Power, they also show who was on the take and disclose pay-through entities.

More to come. And more. And more.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

As more "bombshells" wait in the wings about his messy exit as Alabama Power's CEO, Mark Crosswhite decides it's best to "spend time with his family"

Alabama Power

The story of Mark Crosswhite's exit as CEO of Alabama Power apparently is far from over. In fact, it might just be heating up.

K.B. Forbes, publisher of the blog and CEO of the CDLU public charity and advocacy group, has been leading the way on journalism about unsavory activities surrounding Alabama Power, its closely aligned law firm Balch & Bingham, Drummond Company, and the like.

Forbes reports in a post today that he plans more "bombshell" reports next week, and he notes that they might have criminal implications. That could induce a few gulps in Birmingham's halls of power. It is unclear what alleged crimes might be involved and who might be implicated. But it likely will not be good news for Balch & Bingham.

The law firm apparently staked its future on the prospect that Crosswhite might become CEO of Southern Company, parent firm of Alabama Power. Forbes writes. Now, it looks like that bet will not turn out so well. Suddenly, it seems, Crosswhite has realized he needs to "spend more time with his family." Here is the full quote, from an article at Yellowhammer News:

It has been an honor working for a company that for more than a century has been dedicated to serving communities across Alabama,” said Crosswhite in a release. “As I approach my 60th birthday, though, I have come to realize it is time for me to spend more time with my family.”

Crosswhite and his PR team could not come up with something more creative than that? Apparently not -- and that seems to draw guffaws from Forbes:

Over a year ago, we reported that Crosswhite was “allegedly telling bourgeois insiders that he has the lock and key to the C-Suite at Southern Company, Alabama Power’s parent firm.”

The current CEO of Southern Company, Tom Fanning, made more than $21 million last year.

Crosswhite did not give up that opportunity to spend more time with his family and you, our dear reader, know his excuse is a crock.

As we wrote just last week, Crosswhite’s abrupt demise was caused by his unwavering loyalty to alleged racist law firm Balch & Bingham and absolute confidence in “Sloppy Joe ” Perkins, the founder of obscure political consulting firm Matrix. 

So furious at the collapse of his career, sources claim, Crosswhite allegedly refuses to even talk to his ex-law partners at Balch.

Rocked by Crosswhite’s ouster, Balch, sources claim, is allegedly in utter turmoil, near collapse as Balch’s lifeline may come to an end this year.

Just like Balch arrogantly thought it could make millions when their stooge, ex-U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions, was made U.S. Attorney General in 2017, Balch appears to have bet the farm on Crosswhite’s eventual coronation as CEO of Southern Company.

Balch & Bingham has been betting the farm on Jeff Sessions and Mark Crosswhite? Our advice is that you avoid following the Balch gang to Las Vegas.

As for Yellowhammer News, its article seems to point to Crosswhite's fury with his old law firm. Writes Forbes:

A fluff piece on Crosswhite’s ouster in Yellowhammer News affirms Crosswhite’s alleged anger at Balch & Bingham, by omitting Balch’s name, writing, “Crosswhite represented the company in private practice for 17 years before serving Southern Company in an official capacity.”

17 years at Balch as a partner forgotten down an Orwellian memory hole!

No wonder Balch celebrated its centennial anniversary in secret, hidden on a hilltop, last month.

Our advice to readers. Keep an eye next week on Forbes notes that Tom Fanning has a smelly mess on his hands at Southern Company -- and the smell might be about to get stronger:

Current Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning will have more horse stalls to clean up next week as we reveal more bombshells that could lead to possible criminal indictments.

The stench of horse manure is intense and overwhelming.

Monday, November 21, 2022

String of press reports -- led by a Birmingham-based blog and advocacy group -- leads to retirement announcement of Alabama Power's Mark Crosswhite

Jay Town and Mark Crosswhite

Alabama Power CEO Mark Crosswhite, once known as "the most powerful man" in the state, is set to retire after a years-long trail of press reports about the ties of his company and its closely aligned law firm, Balch & Bingham, to a series of scandals -- most notably the North Birmingham Bribery case. Daniel Tait, of The Energy and Policy Institute, broke the retirement news in a Tweet this morning, citing a corporate filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The retirement is set to take effect on Dec. 31, 2022.

The most important journalism on the story almost certainly came from a Birmingham-based blog called The dogged reporting of K.B. Forbes, publisher of Ban Balch and CEO of the CDLU public charity and advocacy group, likely led to Crosswhite's fall from grace. Under the headline "The 'Most Powerful Man in Alabama' Resigns in Disgrace! Crosswhite Scalped by Scandal," Forbes writes:

The resignation is tied to an avalanche of scandal including an alleged federal investigation of criminal obstruction of justice in the North Birmingham Bribery Trial, the surveillance of Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning and his then-girlfriend allegedly under the direct orders of Crosswhite, and the alleged criminal acts and misconduct surrounding the Matrix Meltdown and Alabama Power’s multi-million-dollar secret contracts to Matrix founder “Sloppy Joe” Perkins.

Two years ago tomorrow, we prophetically wrote that Crosswhite would have to retire or resign. It was in the wake of photos we published of disgraced U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town chugging cocktails with Crosswhite allegedly at the height of the North Birmingham Bribery Trial.

         We wrote at the time:     

    Did Crosswhite or [Alabama Power’s outside criminal attorney Mark] White strike the secret deal with Town to keep Alabama Power “unmentionable” during the criminal trial? Did Crosswhite mislead parent company Southern Company about Alabama Power’s involvement in the North Birmingham Bribery Scandal or the Newsome Conspiracy Case? What truly was Alabama Power’s role with the money laundering entity Alliance for Jobs and the Economy (AJE)? Was Alabama Power in anyway involved in the idiotic orchestrated campaign this past summer in which an innocent family was terrorized by paid buffoons?

The following also turned out to be prophetic:

Unlike other Southern Company wholly-owned subsidiaries, Alabama Power appears to operate completely differently, looking more like a vengeful gang of arrogant fraternity members instead of level-headed corporate executives.

When we first met with federal investigators in 2017 about Balch & Bingham, they were more concerned about Alabama Power rather than Balch.

The accounts of dubious activities might not be over, writes Forbes:

Since 2020, new stunning revelations tied to Alabama Power have come out (some yet to be reported).

The unsavory misconduct scalped what Crosswhite’s once adoring fans called “the most powerful man in Alabama.”

Now Crosswhite joins ex-U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and appears as yet another disgraced power-hungry fool.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Mood appears to go from bad to worse as fallout from the North Birmingham Bribery Scandal continues to hover over embattled Balch & Bingham law firm

Mark Crosswhite

A grim mood has settled over Birmingham's Balch & Bingham law firm, engulfed in scandal for more than nine years -- and the sour mood shows little sign of lifting soon, according to a report at

How bad have things gotten? Consider these revelations from the Ban Balch report, published by K.B. Forbes, CEO of the CDLU public charity and advocacy group:

* Mark A. Crosswhite, the ex-Balch partner and current CEO of Alabama Power, sources claim, is furious to the point he allegedly is not speaking to Balch’s top brass. 

* Crosswhite, sources say, is out of the running for CEO and Chairman of Southern Company and Crosswhite allegedly blames Balch and the Matrix Meltdown for that apparent downturn in his career.

* Other sources state that an ongoing federal investigation related to the alleged obstruction of justice in the North Birmingham Bribery Case is weighing heavily on Crosswhite.

Forbes then reveals a scoop that is not likely to lighten the mood at Balch:

In addition, we, the CDLU, learned from our DOJ sources that the pedophilia/kiddie porn investigation related to ex-Balch attorney and alleged pedophile Chase T. Espy is still ongoing.

In addition, a broader and deeper probe of the app used by Espy to solicit a child for sex is part of a national investigation into child trafficking and exploitation.

With this revolting baggage and alleged cover-up of Espy’s misconduct, we are not surprised that Crosswhite is not on speaking terms. With children possibly being harmed, will Alabama Power finally cut the ropes with Balch?

Friday, November 4, 2022

Plea agreement indicates former Balch & Bingham lawyer Chase T. Espy might have been a child predator for some time before being caught in Homewood sting

Chase Espy

A former Balch & Bingham attorney made a series of disturbing admissions in reaching a plea agreement on child-solicitation charges, according to a report at Perhaps most disturbing is language in the document that indicates Chase T. Espy might have been a child predator for some time before being caught during an investigation by the Homewood Police Department in 2021-22.

K.B. Forbes, publisher of Ban Balch and CEO of the CDLU public charity and advocacy group, struggled to hide his revulsion upon reading the plea agreement. Writes Forbes:

We wanted to throw up.

The admissions in the plea deal that alleged sexual predator and ex-Balch attorney Chase T. Espy signed are shocking, revolting, and unbelievable.

The admissions and revelations are graphic and repulsive; but much, much worse, the evidence presented appears to show that this was not Espy’s first time at the rodeo.

Espy appears to be an experienced pedophile. According to the plea deal, Espy appeared to be advertising himself on a social media application.

No one will believe Balch & Bingham, which terminated Espy months before he solicited a child for sex, that they did not know he was trouble.

 How might Balch and Espy's activities have become intertwined? Forbes considers the possibilities:

Balch’s servers and internet services could have been used to set up an app’s advertising campaign, download kiddie porn, and/or solicit a child for sex.

Balch’s Managing Partner Stan Blanton has the moral obligation to turn over the evidence to law enforcement.

Balch, sadly, has remained silent except to say it terminated Espy in September of 2020. The crime of soliciting a child for sex occurred in March of 2021.

How did the child solicitation come to light? The plea agreement spells it out:

The plea describes the solicitation. (We have obscured the vulgarities):

On March 25, 2021, while acting in an online undercover capacity, a Homewood Police Department Detective (referred to as “UC”) responded to an online advertisement posted on a certain social media app (“App-1 “)3 by user “You_Top” which stated, “I wish my wife liked performing oral as much as I do.” The UC and “You_Top” (later identified as Chase Tristian Espy) began a conversation through App-1.

During the communications, Espy stated to the UC that he enjoyed going down on his wife and then asked the age and sex of the UC. The UC informed Espy that he was a 15-year-old female. Espy then asked the UC, “ Are you still a virgin? If you don’t mind me asking … ” and later stated, “you have no idea how much I’d love going down on a tight little p**** like yours.” Espy continued the conversation and stated, “you just need to experience it with someone who very much knows what’s he’s doing” and then asked how the UC felt about, “Sucking d***”.

Balch has a habit of staying silent when bad news hits -- and this news is about as bad as it can get for a major law firm:

Espy worked at Balch & Bingham for eight long years and even wrote briefs before the United States Supreme Court. Balch found something, somewhere to justify Espy’s termination.

But just like when Balch terminated ex-Balch partner Clark A. Cooper in 2017, and later convicted felon Joel I. Gilbert, Balch remains silent as if nothing ever happened. Balch leaders appear to see no evil or hear no evil.

Balch is blinded by arrogance and hubris. But this is not about smearing a competitor or protecting a known polluter. This is about children who were victims of a pedophile.

The investigation turned up evidence of child pornography, and the plea agreement provides details on that:

The plea deal then describes (in general) the kiddie porn found:

A state search warrant was obtained and executed on Espy’s cell phone. The chats with the UC was located on Espy’s cell phone. There were approximately 69 videos and four images of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) located on Espy’s cellphone. Within the CSAM videos and images, there were two involving toddlers, 20 depicting penetration, three depicting humiliation, and 29 involving masturbation. The total number of child sexual abuse material images for sentencing purposes is 5,178.

5,178 images! 69 videos! Toddlers!

We believe there are probably other young girls who may be victims of Espy’s sick desires.

The Espy story even managed to sully Alabama state government. Writes Forbes:

Balch appears to have covered up Espy’s misconduct and let him obtain a job in April of 2021 with Alabama Governor Kay Ivey. Espy was arrested in August of 2021 and immediately fired by the governor.

Balch failed the Governor. Balch failed the community. Balch failed their partners and staff.

And now Balch & Bingham’s silence and inaction on this child exploitation scandal escalates, Balch’s clients need to dump the embattled firm, loudly and unequivocally.

There are more revolting and disgusting details in the plea agreement (read below) that appears to show that Espy was an experienced sexual predator.

We just hope there are no other young victims because of Balch’s silence and alleged cover-up.

The full plea agreement can be read at the following link.